Hate crime, punishment

Source: The post is based on an article “Hate crime, punishment” published in the “The Hindu” on 7th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Important Provisions of the Constitution of India

Relevance: Fundamental Right to freedom of speech and expression vs Hate Speech

News: In recent, Umesh Kolhe, a chemist working in Amravati, Maharashtra, and Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor working in Udaipur, Rajasthan were knifed to death in retaliation for their sharing of a post in support of controversial comments on the Prophet.

What are the problems with hate speech?

Although India laws clearly define the reasonableness of the right to exercise the freedom of expression in India. However, the Indian laws do not clearly define hate speech, which are directed at communities and intended to fan communal hatred.

In the age of online media and messaging, hate speech incidents have become a significant problem.

Legal Regime

There are provisions in the law that can be interpreted as allowing for criminalising offences that are related to hate speech, in particular those that are likely to incite violence.

Way Forward

The Law Commission of India has recommended adding specific provisions in the Indian Penal Code to tackle hate speech.

The Union and the State governments should reassure citizens on the need for communal amity and it should reassure that the purveyors of hate speech and those indulging in violence in retaliation will be prosecuted.

The governments must reorient themselves to the rule of law. They should strictly adhere to constitutional values like the secular fabric of the country must be preserved at all costs.

Justice and the application of the rule of law should not only be seen to be done. It should be applied in a fair manner without prejudice for or against specific communities.

The Union and State governments should not use the enforcement authorities to inflict collective punishment on communities for the individual acts of transgression.

All the political parties including those in power and in opposition, must refrain from fanning communal hatred.

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